I got a Kwikset deadbolt lock (has key hole on both sides instead of key hole externally with latch internally). This lock uses SmartKey technology so you can rekey the lock to use a new key rather than having to replace the lock itself.

After I installed it, I wanted to rekey the lock to use my hold house key until my roommate got home so I could then give her the new key, after which I would rekey the lock to use the new key. While rekeying with the SmarkKey in the hole, I found that my old house key was too big for the Kwikset lock and would only go in half way, so I pulled it out. I then tried using the key that originally came with the lock and now it doesn't work on the inside where I was attempting the rekey, but it does work on the outside.

In order to rekey these locks, you have to insert a working key, give it a quarter turn so the key is horizontal, insert the SmarkKey, take out the current key, then insert the new key. Since no key will work with the inside lock, I can't get it to turn at all.

Am I going to have to disasseble the lock to fix this or is there another way?

7 Answers 7


take the lock to your local home store that carries this line of locks. they will remove the core and put it in a SmartKey Reset Cradle. this returns the lock to an unprogrammed state.

there is no way to do this yourself without disassembling the lock core, and there's about a bazillion point 2 pieces in there.

  • I called Kwikset and this is what they told me. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 22:25

I've done it and you don't need the original key or a SmartKey. Disassemble it right down to the core. There will be two slip rings that can be pushed off with a flat blade screwdriver to allow you to get the core apart. Gently slide the outer cylinder off the inner core, remove the little bar in the center of the inner core and then lift off the slider-semi-cylinder that would normally be pushed by the SmartKey, being careful not to drop out any of the little levers (best to have that piece on the bottom at that time so that gravity holds them in). Put in the new key to line up the latches with it, straighten out the levers, put the slider back on and reassemble.


One of the "smart Levers" inside the core kept misaligning rendering my key useless to turn the core. I took everything apart, removed one of the 5 smart levers and it now works fine. Thanks for the encouragement to tackle this. 15 minute fix


I called Kwikset at the number on the directions (800-327-5625), said I purchased it about 1 year ago and that it suddenly stopped working. As I could not turn the key, I could not reset the lock. Without any issue, they said they will immediately send me a new cylinder and keys which I can then reset.

  • FYI: I've also had good service with replacement cylinders from Kwickset (but they are a lot of work to put in. Sadly, when the servo fails they won't replace that or tell you the part number so you can replace it your self. Thus, you may just want to return the lock if it's still possible.
    – virtualxtc
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 22:10

If you reinsert the key that caused the problem, hold it tightly with two fingers while turning the key with your other hand and ever so slowly retract the key, eventually you will find the spot that the key was in. Once this happens, you should be back in the rekey mode. Be very careful that the key that you wish to use is completely inserted and don't pull back on it when turning. I have had this problem a couple of times, and the above method allows me to correct the mistake that I made.


First of all, the instructions for the SmartKey that come with the deadbolt are nothing like this instruction that you mention, "In order to rekey these locks, you have to insert a working key, give it a quarter turn so the key is horizontal, insert the SmartKey, take out the current key, then insert the new key." This instruction worked for me. The ones sujpplied by Kwickset did not. Thanks for the information.


I read the guys answer on how to do and I did it and it did work but it isn't totally how he said and it can be explained better. When you take it apart you don't need to take out the smart key gears. The object is to separate the inner lock core with the lock core shell, turn it clockwise to the spot you would normally put it at to redo your key (3 o'clock) then reassemble with a key in it and turn it back to program it. To do this, separate it then use your smart key tool to press the smart key slider in. This allows you to press down on the smart key bar that sticks out and it can be reinserted at the correct position. After that it will program any key like normal as per the smart key instructions.

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